EU Parliament tightens punishment for bypassing sanctions against Russia

European Parliament
European Parliament

MEPs have approved new penalties for ignoring or circumventing EU sanctions, including those levied against Moscow, the European Parliament’s press service reported on March 12.

Read also: Transfer of Russian frozen assets to Ukraine will greatly weaken Putin - Zelenskyy

This decision was supported by 543 MEPs, with 45 voting against, and 27 abstentions. The document introduces criminal penalties for violation and circumvention of EU sanctions.

"Violation of EU sanctions, in particular those against Russia, should be punishable," the announcement said.

Under the new directive, the EU intends to punish those who trade in sanctioned goods with Russia with up to five years in prison. This will also apply to those who provided banned services to Russia or helped sanctioned persons enter the EU.

At the same time, providing "humanitarian aid or support for basic human needs" was specified as being not in breach of any EU-imposed restrictions.

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Parliament Speaker Sophie in 't Veld said that the EU needed a legislative solution to the issue, such as a legal framework to confiscate frozen Russian assets.

"We need this legislative solution, as different national approaches have created weaknesses and loopholes, and it will allow us to confiscate frozen assets,” she said.

Read also: Russian assets that can be used for Ukraine's needs. Where are they, and how much are there?

“The parliament has taken an ambitious, harmonious approach to the law, and although we were not able to close all the desired loopholes, it is an improvement on the current situation and a demonstration of our strong support for Ukraine."

The directive now must be approved by the Council of the European Union, after which it will come into force.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine